Federal Court Orders Nigeria To Surrender 2 Citizens For Trial In America

Federal Court Orders Nigeria To Surrender 2 Citizens For Trial In America

By Doyin Ajayi | Sub-Editor on June 5, 2020
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Abubakar Malami, President Buhari, June 12, Democracy Day
Abubakar Malami, Nigeria's federal attorney general

The Federal High Court has ordered the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, to surrender two Nigerian men – Princewill Ugonna Anuegunwa and Lateef Alade Alagbada – for trial in the United States of America, U.S.A.

Anuegunwa, who claimed to be a graduate of the Ogun State (now Olabisi Onabanjo) University (OOU), is wanted in the U.S for his alleged involvement in “wire fraud” while Alagbada is wanted for alleged “conspiracy to distribute and import heroin into the U.S from Nigeria”.

The court ordered that both Nigerians be surrendered, following judgments in two extradition cases filed and argued before it in Abuja and Lagos by Pius Akutah of the Central Control Unit in the Federal Ministry of Justice.

In a judgment on June 1, this year, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, upheld Akutah’s argument that the applicant provided sufficient materials to warrant the exercise of the court’s discretion in its favour.

The judgment was on an extraction application.

Ekwo held: “I am satisfied that the evidence of the applicant, in this case, is in compliance with Section 17(1)(a) & (b) (3)(a) & (b) and (4) of the Extradition Act, and I hereby admit and rely on same.

“I find that the applicant has made a case to warrant the issuance of the order sought in the application. The application succeeds on the merit.

“Consequently, order is hereby made for the surrender of the respondent – Princewill Ugonna Anuegunwa – by the Attorney General of the Federation to the U.S.A to answer for the criminal charges against him in that country after 15 days thereof.

“The respondent is hereby committed to the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service until the order of this court for his surrender is carried out.”

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos gave a similar verdict in an earlier judgment in the case against Alagbada.

In the judgment given on April 22, 2020, Justice Hassan held that the applicant had established its case against the respondent.

He said: “From the foregoing, I hold that the applicant has satisfied this court with documentary exhibits substantial enough to warrant the grant of this application.

“I find as a fact that proper procedure for the surrender of the respondent has been adopted by the U.S and the Attorney General of the Federation.

“I, therefore, commit the respondent, Alagbada Lateef, to Interpol custody for extradition to the U.S as a fugitive.

“The fugitive is also ordered to await the order of the Attorney General of the Federation for his surrender to the U.S after the expiration of 15 days from the date of the judgment of this court in accordance with the provisions of Section 10(1) of the Extradition Act.”

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